Journal of Power Sources, Vol.279, 533-539, 2015
Proposal and examination of method of water removal from gas diffusion layer by applying slanted microgrooves inside gas channel in separator to improve polymer electrolyte fuel cell performance
The objective of this study was to improve the management of moisture from the gas diffusion layer (GDL) in the gas channel of a separator for PEFC. At the cathode-side, oxygen is transported as reactant gas from gas channel through GDL. When large quantity of moisture is generated during high power generation, moisture blocks transport of oxygen, and the cell voltage drops drastically. Narrow microgrooves with axes at tilt angle to the air flow were arranged inside channel walls. The water from GDL was discharged along microgrooves to facing top of GDL by forces of capillary and air flow shearing. Laser induced fluorescence method was used to measure water velocity in microgrooves. The effect of air velocity in the gas channel on water velocity in microgrooves was investigated. It was shown microgrooves manufactured inside gas channel worked properly. Water velocity in microgrooves increased with increasing air velocity, and moisture could be discharged from GDL by applying microgrooves. Furthermore, effective length of the microgrooves needed to remove water from the GDL surface increased with decreasing inclination angle of microgrooves in the range of 20 degrees-45 degrees. An effective length of approximately 200 mm was attained, which was overall length of experimental apparatus. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.